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cameraThe Happy Headache (a.k.a. the untimely-given-this-recession-gut-reno of our new place) is moving along nicely and I was supposed to update you on the progress yesterday, but oh well. Here we are one day later. You'll forgive me, right? Of course you will. One of the big topics of discussion lately has been security. How much security is too much security? Do we need window buttons and glass breakers and motion detectors? Do we need cameras? Do we need recording and storage of footage? Do we need any of these things? I don't know.

When this subject comes up, I half tune out and the words float over me. Husband has more of an opinion. This is a decidedly unfeminist thing to say and I am not even sure unfeminist is a word (actually I am pretty sure it is not), but maybe caring deeply about the nuts and bolts of security is a male thing? Maybe.

I did weigh in at one point in the discussion though. I want (temporary) cameras in our kids' rooms. Calm down. Hear me out.

Since she was born, we have had a video baby monitor in Toddler's room. During those first few days and weeks of her life, this monitor made me a bit crazy as I was obsessed with watching her every move. But with time, this monitor saved us. We would turn it off at night and if we thought we heard Toddler crying down the hall, we would turn it on. On that tiny screen, we would see her shifting about in her crib, fidgeting her way back to sleep. We were able to see - and quickly - that she was okay. This monitor gave us a sense of peace and gave her a sense of independence. Because we could see that she was fine, we did not bust into her room over and over to check if she was okay. We let her do her thing. We let her soothe herself. We let her learn to sleep and savor her naptime and nighttime solitude.

And now. We have done the same thing with Baby. She has the very same video monitor trained on her crib. And this monitor allows us to watch her when we need to. We can see if she is playing or fussing or has tossed her pacifier through the slats. We can see when she needs us. And when she does not. Again, Baby has evolved into an independent spirit. Like her big sister, she puts herself to sleep at night and wakes up in the morning and plays in her crib.

There are many, many things I worry I am doing wrong in the parenting department, but there is one thing about which I feel proud. Borderline smug. Sleep. Our kids sleep well. Both of them. Whether this is a matter of nature or nurture is up for grabs. I think this has something to do with our priorities as parents and something to do with the temperaments of our children and maybe something to do with those video monitors.

So. I am inclined to put cameras in our kids' rooms in the new place. Because we are installing an entire system, we can easily add (removable) cameras in each girl's bedroom and these cameras will work far better than the monitors we have. Wonderful, right? Yes. Except that now I am questioning this decision. Is there something wrong, something ethically askew, with being able to see into our kids' rooms? Perhaps it is easier to justify cameras in the rooms of infants - when fears of SIDS are at play - but what about in the room of a toddler? At one point does having a camera become an intrusion on privacy? We would remove these cameras at some point. I do not imagine wanting to know what is going on chez teenagers. But when is the right point of removal? Is having cameras at all, at any point, okay?

I say that I want these cameras as part of our future "security system," to be able to monitor the status and safety of my young children, but is this really about my own insecurity as a parent? Is this prime evidence of my own inability to trust that my darlings will be just fine without my eyes on them (or potentially on them) at all times? Or, is this all fine and dandy? Am I just being a tech-savvy and loving mother who wants to keep close watch on the little loves of my life? I don't know.

Am I talking here about security systems or insecurity systems? What are your thoughts on having cameras in the rooms of young children?

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